HUBBALLI: The major new railway lines being developed by the South Western Railways (SWR) have been put on hold due to the lack of sufficient land. Though SWR authorities have taken up the issue with the State government, the process did not receive expected momentum. As a result, the Railway zone is unable to spend the budgetary grants towards these projects.
Whenever Railways takes up a new project, the State government acquires the land and hands it over to the former agency. Unless the railway gets 90% of the required land, it does not commence the tender process for allotment of work. As majority of the new rail line projects have not got sufficient land, they are stuck in limbo. Among the projects are — Tumakuru-Chitradurga-Davanagere, Gadag-Wadi and also recently sanctioned Dharwad-Belagavi lines. These lines not only shorten the distance between Hubballi and other parts of the State, but they also save time, money and energy.
According to data sourced by an SWR official, for the 199-kilometre Tumakuru-Davanagere line, the land in possession of the Railways is in bits and pieces. A total of 930 hectares was needed, but the department was in possession of just 53 hectares, which is not even 10% of the required mass. Since the land has become a contentious issue, the acquisition process is getting delayed.
The condition is similar for the 252-kilometre Gadag-Wadi line, which needs 1,598 hectares but got only 616 ha, that too not in a single stretch. From Talakal, where the new line starts, 348 acres have been acquired, and at Wadi, it has 268 acres. However, the SWR is planning to float tender for laying a line between Talakal and Kushtagi.Another SWR official said, the sum of budgetary grant for the next year for the above said four projects is Rs 350 crore, and the money is unlikely to be spent, in case Railway did not get the required land.
Yelahanka-Makalidurga double line gets nod
Bengaluru: The Commissioner for Rail Safety on Tuesday gave the final authorisation to run trains on the 35.97 km Yelahanka-Makkalidurga Double line section. This forms part of the crucial Yelahanka-Penukonda section in Bengaluru. Trains have been approved to run at 80kmphspeed on the Yelahanka-Oddarahalli stretch and at 75 kmph from Oddarahalli to Makalidurga.